Free Christmas Vocal Sheet Music "Gaudete"

Free Christmas vocal sheet music "Gaudete" with piano and guitar tabs, 3 versions, below.  This beautiful Christmas carol is very old -- and very unusual.  I will not promise that your younger students will immediately like this song!  However, old as it is (apparently 600-700 years old) it is very popular; a search at Sheetmusicplus yields 113 results! (2014)



The elegant rendition above by The King's Singers is totally outside the experience of a lot of pre-college students... but it shouldn't be!

Here is my version of the Christmas song. It is not a choral arrangement, but a single vocal line with a simple open-sounding accompaniment.  The word "Gaudete" means "Rejoice!":

Free Christmas vocal sheet music


Download free Christmas vocal sheet music "Gaudete"

The English translation of the Latin text is not meant to be sung; it is more literal than poetic.  I always like to know what I am singing.  The words of this free Christmas vocal sheet music are truly beautiful.

The shifting rhythm is reflected in the changing time signatures; there is a version at IMSLP that does it all in 4/4 time, but it's good for students to wrestle with a shift from 2/4 to 6/8.  Think of it as an opportunity!

There are so many fine versions of Gaudete at Youtube, that it was really hard to choose just one... so I didn't.  Here is video number two, the very beautiful early music group Medieval Babes.  Their singing starts at about 14 seconds (it's worth the wait!):

What first attracted me to this Christmas song was noticing how the shape of the medieval-sounding chords looked so easy to do on guitar... and I thought how nice this piece would sound with guitar and recorder or other treble instrument together.  

Therefore, my first version of Gaudete was the arrangement below, for "classical'-style guitar and melody instrument:

Guitar tabs and melody for Gaudete, Rejoice, Rejoice!


Download guitar tablature and early Renaissance melody Gaudete

The guitar part - for fingerpicking, of course - is not difficult.  The hardest thing for the guitar player will be coordinating with the melody instrument.  

Therefore, I also wrote up sheet music that has a tablature line for the melody, so guitarists who don't yet read standard notation can figure out how the melody is supposed to sound:

Gaudete guitar tabs free Christmas song



This version has two pages...


Gaudete for guitar and melody instrument


Download Gaudete guitar chords and melody tabs

Try this piece at your next Christmas (or any) recital - it will really break the routine and inject a fresh sound into your students' repertoire!

One more video... Okay, two more! First, The Bedford Family Ringers & MYKL, an all-instrumental version of Gaudete:



And lastly, "Celtic Christmas," at a very lively pace.  Wait for the deep organ drone about halfway through, then the addition of bright harp chords.  This version is anything but static:






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